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Tech support off to Mumbai

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Wanadoo UK is shunting its tech support operation to India in a move that could threaten the jobs of more than 200 staff in Sheffield. Workers at Capita - which recently took over the contract to run call centre operations for Dixons including narrowband support for Wanadoo UK (formerly Freeserve) - were told today that the ISP has terminated its contract.

The contract is due to end in September and over the next few months Wanadoo UK is to relocate its narrowband support operation to Mumbai in India where more than 100 workers will be employed.

A spokeswoman for Wanadoo UK said that 145 people at Capita worked on ISP's account. But in an email to workers, Capita said that "211 people currently work exclusively on the Wanadoo service here in Sheffield and obviously this termination by Wanadoo will have a direct impact on those people."

The email continues: "Regulations clearly apply to the people working here on this service. Under these circumstances staff working on this service would be recognised as transferring with the work to the new supplier. Therefore, on the appropriate transfer date, staff affected would no longer be an employee of the Capita Group, with payment of salary and benefits by Capita ceasing on that date. We have made both Wanadoo and Dixons fully aware of this view and we are now focused on swiftly seeking joint solutions."

Capita told staff it had no idea of Wanadoo's plans to pull out of the deal adding that it is "extremely unhappy with the current uncertainty that the present situation has created for it's staff".

Wanadoo UK said: "We confirm that on 4th May we gave notice to Dixons of termination of our contract with them for provision of narrowband customer technical support, and to Capita, to whom the work was subcontracted. Notice was given in accordance with the provisions laid down in the contract and we will be moving our narrowband customer technical support centre to India progressively over a number of months. We are endeavouring to work with Capita to ensure that those staff affected are treated fairly and we very much hope they can be found alternative positions.

No one from Dixons or Capita was available for comment at the time of writing. Capita took over the contract to run Dixons call centres last month, but within weeks managed to anger staff after announcing that 60 jobs were under threat following a "review of operations". ®

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